The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) recently hosted a digitalization roundtable at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Pretoria, South Africa. It was an opportunity for networking and social interaction between entrepreneurs, embassy representatives and business leaders in technology and innovation.
Three speakers provided thought leadership from the industry; Dr Eugene van Rensburg is Partner and Director at Hlayisani Capital, Dr Peter Alkema is Digital Transformation Executive at FirstRand Banking Group and Elanie Steyn is Director of Operations at Modulr Finance and Payments.
The roundtable focused on trends in the digital industry in the Netherlands and South Africa and particularly strategies for technology investments and expansion to international markets. Attendees included entrepreneurs and business leaders from consulting, software development and EdTech with representatives from the embassy also joining the event.
Dr. Peter Alkema kicked the evening off with insights into digital transformation in banking and the shift from pipes to platforms which creates new business models and digital ecosystems. Drawing on industry research from Harvard and Accenture Peter explained the importance of role players in the ecosystem and trends in large scale and regional transformation initiatives.
Dr. Eugene van Rensburg facilitated a discussion about international business expansion, fielding questions about The Netherlands including time to value, benefits and strategies of growth and profitability. He cited useful examples and emphasized the importance of a clear purpose for expansion against which you can assess your progress.
Dialling in from The Netherlands, Elanie Steyn spoke about the growth of Modulr in the payments space and how they have benefitted from international expansion. In her professional experience, The Netherlands offers an innovative business ecosystem supported by talent density and a strong local banking and financial services system.
Deputy Head of Mission at the embassy Janneke Vrijland wrapped up the proceedings with a very positive sentiment about the state of bilateral trade between the two countries. She is confident that growth and development is trending upwards and offered her country’s support for businesses looking to expand to The Netherlands.